Erekat: Construction Punishable Under Int'l Law

Palestinian Authority officials condemn Israel's decision to build in Jerusalem, call on international community to take action.

Elad Benari ,

Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat
Miriam Alster/ Flash 90

Palestinian Authority officials strongly condemned Israel on Monday after it announced plans for 1,000 new homes in eastern Jerusalem, the Ma’an news agency reports.

Among those was senior negotiator Saeb Erekat, who said the decision "amounts to evidence of an intent to further commit crimes defined by and punishable under international law."

"The announcement by Israel's housing minister, Uri Ariel, who is already a settler, of his intent to occupy a seized Palestinian home in Silwan is just another shocking reminder of Israel's accelerating efforts to forcibly displace Palestinians from Jerusalem and turn the Holy City of three faiths into an exclusive Jewish city," he charged, according to Ma’an.

Erekat also called on the the international community to take action to save the two-state solution from "colonial expansionism" and support the PLO's efforts at the Security Council to set a deadline for ending the “Israeli occupation.”

Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Fatah, also condemned the move and warned of violent consequences.

"Such unilateral acts will lead to an explosion," he told a gathering of foreign journalists in Ramallah.

"If [Netanyahu] wants to keep pushing us all into a vicious circle of bloodshed and killing he must draw the right conclusion from what happened in Gaza," Rajoub added.

Earlier Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave instructions for the building of about 660 homes in Ramat Shlomo, in northern Jerusalem, and about 400 more in Har Homa, in the capital's southern section.

The move was first reported Sunday on Channel 2, and is seen as a bid to strengthen the alliance with the nationalist wing of the coalition. 

Netanyahu, who spoke at the opening of the Knesset’s winter session on Monday, made clear that "Israel has every right to build in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem.”

"Violence against us is not the result of construction in Jerusalem," he added. "[It] comes from the desire of our enemies for us not to be here at all."

The announcement on the construction in Jerusalem has garnered criticism from the United States as well as from the European Union.



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